Ad Alert

Travelocity reader says discount travel website misled her on a promotion. reader Nina W. was in the process of booking a trip (hotel and flight) to San Francisco on discount travel website Travelocity when this message popped up on her screen:

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This encouraged Nina to continue with her purchase. She clicked “book now” and was returned to the “Who’s traveling?” page on which the pop-up appeared. But when it came time to print out the tickets, the advertised $100 discount was not reflected in the price.

Nina complained to Travelocity customer service who told her — wrongly — that the promotion had expired. In fact, the promotion, which started April 27, runs until July 18. The real reason Nina was denied the discount was because she booked a two-night hotel stay and the promotion calls for a minimum four-night hotel stay. Of course, this was not disclosed to Nina during the booking process, nor were all the other terms, which note that the discount is for “selected vacation packages” that meet certain conditions including a specific redemption period and travel stays.

“The banner popped up and there was no terms and conditions, no link, no additional information about the promotion,” Nina told in an email.

Keith Nowak, Travelocity’s director of marketing communications, when asked by about this issue, said the tools through which the promotion is set up to be presented were not “aligned,” causing people like Nina who don’t qualify for the promotion to be served the pop-up message. Thanks to our inquiry, he said, everything’s back in order.

Nowak said he’ll look into linking to the terms and conditions of the promotion in the pop-up. But the FTC requires that conditions be disclosed in the ad itself. In other words, it’s not enough just to link to them.

Find more of our coverage on travel here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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